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Rural areas get aid from DHHS

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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 19, 2014
Contact: news@dhhs.nc.gov
              919-855-4840

Rural areas get aid from DHHS
Sarah Mansur
Henderson Daily Dispatch
June 18, 2014
http://www.hendersondispatch.com/news/x1625940500/Rural-areas-get-aid-from-DHHS

Creedmoor, N.C. -

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As the national economy recovers from the recession, government agencies - like the state Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in North Carolina - are highlighting resources and services to rural regions significantly affected by the economic downturn.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and her staff held a question-and-answer session at the state's first youth mental health first aid training event for teenagers ages 16 to 18 years old at Vance-Granville Community College's southern campus Wednesday, sponsored by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions.

The Mental Health First Aid program is a key component of the state's Crisis Solution Initiative, which aims to improve crisis prevention services and reduce emergency department use and wait times for psychiatric and addiction treatment placement.

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"It is critical," Wos said. "One of the reasons is that we really have a shortage of health care professionals. Programs such as this are critical because sometimes it's that first interaction with a person that needs someone to extend their hand or someone to just offer assistance or make sure they are okay."

Vance and Granville counties are also part of a new pilot rollout program called Crossroads that turns the paper-based Women, Infants and Children program system in to an electronic one.

North Carolina was selected by the federal government to be the lead state of a four state consortium, according to Kirsti Clifford, a health and human services department press assistant.

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Wos said women, especially those who have just given birth, need ways to get access to knowledge, care and people they can rely on.

"That is their safety net, in a way, if they don't know who to speak to or do something," she said. "In the rural areas, because of geography, that is critical."

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